Charlies has been operating for over 30 years as an independent, family-run retailer. Whilst the company has grown, the passion for the business and the values it was founded on remain the same. In the early days there was only a small team, many of whom remain today, but there are now 8 stores across Wales and the borders plus a strong on-line presence. The company started with two army surplus stores in Newtown and Welshpool, Powys. Since then, the company has transformed into a multi-location, multi-channel retailer with out-of-town stores, along with a destination Garden and Country store at Coed-y-dinas, which was originally a grade II working farm for Powis Castle Estates.
Charlies specialise in large format out of town DIY and Garden Centres, with a growing Ecommerce business, offering customers a vast and diverse range of readily available, high quality and competitively priced products.
The RCS merchandising system manages the supply chain from supplier ordering, warehousing and distribution through to point of sale. Automated supplier purchase orders are created based on various ordering methods and sent to suppliers either by EDI or email.
Since the RCS system has been introduced the purchasing process has been significantly streamlined, requiring less manpower, with visibility at head office of stock across all the stores and warehouses. Purchase Orders are received, either into the warehouses or stores and the receipts are matched against the supplier invoices using the RCS invoice matching system. Matched invoices are automatically posted to Sage 200 for payment.
The stock holding across the company’s warehouse and stores has significantly improved since the installation of the RCS system where cross docked ordering increases the flow of goods through the warehouse, resulting in faster stock turn. Warehouse performance is monitored using the RCS picking studio management system.
Charlies operate a very successful on-line business, where the Magento website, along with other portals, are updated, providing real time stock balances within their e-commerce platforms. Web sales are managed by the post office’s StoreFeeder© system, integrated in the RCS system, passing the web orders automatically into the RCS warehouse system. The result is that stock availability is greatly increased and customer orders are processed and delivered in the quickest possible time.
Within the Charlies cafe, ingredients are managed and costed using the Streetwise cost management system, tightening stock control and reducing food waste. Margin control of the café products has resulted in increased profitability. Kitchen printing and table management is available for special events.
Hand held devices are used extensively throughout the business including stocktaking, ordering, picking, goods receiving, inter store transfers and for various labelling requirements. As a result, stock accuracy has been vastly improved, including full traceability of stock movements within the company.
Overall the following objectives have all been achieved since the RCS system has been implemented:
- Tighter control of the supply chain
- More effective use of stock
- Reduced administration overhead
- Improved margins
- Better Management Information
- Identification of other sales opportunities
- Effective management of the growth of the business